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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  April 17, 2011 1:00am-2:00am EDT

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nurses association, builds relationships with the state nurses organizations and the nurses organization here in d.c. to create nnu. roseanne is very outspoken. in recent weeks about what strategy the labor movement should adopt, vis-a-vis these relentless demands for concessions in the public sector. we have a bit of a difference of opinion between those who are just going to breathe a sigh of relief if we retain bargaining rights but are willing to give away the score to do that, right? as long as we still have these checkouts and there are some serious problems with the strategy of analysts concession bargaining. it did not end up in a good place in the private sector when that was seen as a survivalist
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strategy back in the 1980s in the steel industry, the auto industry, meet packing and so on down the line. so it is good to see again a woman and a union leader challenge the conventional wisdom that was expressed by brother trumka in an op-ed piece in "the wall street journal" the other day that what we need to offer shared sacrifice. i noticed that he is not offering to share the sacrifice that has been imposed on busby schapiro and other members. he is not offering to have a two-year praise -- pay freeze or contribute more for his health care. so i think he should be more cautious about proposing that is a labor strategy. i think framing the messaging is kind of deeply flawed. bob, you are the health care expert, one of many in the room. do want to speak to the question of health care and why became this battleground? you are shaking your head.
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a row out -- made a by a rare outburst of china's. >> have a i have a question specifically about your book. i've not read it yet but i would like to and it has to do with, if you focus only on unions that were part of the afl-cio, by racist because the american federation of government employees is involved in a huge campaign right now to represent transportation safety officers and the tsa. and the national employees union has come and very laid to buy for that, those workers. and i want to know if your research spoke to that at all, specifically because it is one of the unions that really has been growing in the face of lots of unions dying. >> did you hear the question?
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this is a very important representational election if we can add emits this carnage other levels of the public sector 30 or 40,000 new public sector employees in the union of their choice and by personal preference would be fg. seems to have more support and logan in boston and tsa folks that i've talked to end the limited traveling i've done. is not covered in the book other than to his knowledge the obama administration did make some changes in the national mediation board election rules that have supposedly made it easier for us to win elections in the airline industry and this tsa long overdue representation election was going to be becoming this year. it is unfortunate again when suddenly there is an opportunity for major growth. this is many years coming. when was this workforce created? 20002, 2003 that suddenly there is union competition?
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on the other hand, i must say that some of the situations have no choice. it is not always a waste of resources. if you really believe an employee free choice, it should be a right and it is a right under the law but to be exercised not just once when you make your first choice in the union and you are stuck with it whether it is to be responsive or effective or not. something that people should have an opportunity to exercise more frequently over time as a tool for making sure the union they are paying dues to properly represent them. i know that as a radical idea. a lot of people think jurisdiction should be strictly followed that once you are in a union be rules are tilted this way and should not be allowed to go to an independent union. there are not many independent union option so the treasury
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board would every think of them, united electrical workers and independent union options, the national union health care workers obviously the naa is still in the pen and. one of the groups that i work with and canada back in the late 1980s as part of a merger with the international typographical union was a province wide union in québec called the sqa c. 145. civil wars was printed in one of their shops which is now part of the canadian communications energy and paper workers, and in québec during that period i was really struck by how much more on the ball the unions were because you had to retreat competing federations, contracts were of shorter duration. he you didn't have to wait three or five years to lead or petition for a vote to leave if you are happy with their incumbent youth representative. and workers got their phonecalls
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returned. the agents came out and worked with the stewards and bargaining because they nailed that if they were not responsive to the rank-and-file members and the dues payers members of the queue flo would go to the third federation with a lot of hopping around and that would be an important tool for rank-and-file power which i think we lack in many union contacts today so a different perspective on what is often denigrated and demonized as rating when in fact one person's raid is another person's liberation movement. >> i want to put in a plug for something someone brought up, international women's day. wanted to put in a plug for a small foundation i work for one of the things we do at the burger marks foundation is we do provide funds to hire women organizers for a period of time. if you you are adjusted in doing
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that check out her web site at www.burger and read about it, and interesting history about how we came into being. i just want to make that plug for the foundation but i also wanted to comment that a lot of the labor wars, certainly not happen in that happen in california or prater rico but a lot of the labor wars are inside the beltway and i like many people in this room i'm sure worked in 2008 on the ground in an election campaign where everybody came together to elect barack obama and it didn't seem like there were those divisions. so maybe could comment a little bit about how much of it is kind of flowing from an inside the beltway jockeying for what really is used sometimes as a shrinking five in terms of members, who gets what members and i think that really is at the heart of it, that these unions are struggling and they
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are looking for, they are struggling with money and struggling with membership and they are looking for easy -- and looking for how can we maintain the level of service and power that we have? i think a lot of it flows from inside the beltway out and maybe you could just comment on that aspect of the civil war in labor. >> one of the things i talk about in the book in the chapter about the fatal entitlement of afghan obamacare. i know we are not supposed to use the term. the only time i worked for to it as the entitlement of africa, i do talk a lot about the work that linda and brother larry cohen and former congressman bond -- which was an attempt to create a united front during the first year of the obama administration, the nine or 10 largest unions change to win,
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afo and the independent aa. that effort founded over time i think as a result of the afl-cio feeling overshadowed by this projected umbrella structure that would have involved the pooling of resources certainly for political action purposes. the idea seems to have been revived in a new form. this labor formation which you have been reading about inside the beltway response to the public-sector crisis and it seems to be a version of the national labor coordination strategy and pooling money for coordinated political work around a threat the threat to bargaining rights. my own experience, i'm a hard-core leftist -- and i think real unity between workers and different unions has got to be built from the bottom of. i was involved and have a
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purpose to be involved over 25 years in creating a strong tie between ip w. representative telephone workers to note england, twa members within what was originally new york and new england hotels and became lies and bella clinic and now monster verizon and in the course of many years of contract campaigns and strikes and joint bargaining we were able to accomplish things that would never have been, could never have been been dictated from the top, getting together with the head of the ip w. or vice versa. these things have to be organic. they have to be based on relationships at the local level that ignore the difference between brand x and machen brand bayh which basically is about how wide the differences among a number of our unions in terms of how they actually function. workers themselves local did workers and stewards can develop union relationships and joint
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campaigns that really feel more like a workers movement like what we have seen in madison. it doesn't look like people in madison are all marching in line with their respective unit colors. looks it looks like they are all mashed together in the way their labor movement shed and people are not taking first i'm a member of afscme or seiu. is about us come, about me about all of us and what we can accomplish by fighting together. so i think the response around the country to the to terrible change to win rift at the top, 2000 by people worried about what happened. people on those levels seem to have more sense. they value long-term relationship in solitary charger mechanism was developed and relatively little of the expected or feared disruption of labor unity regardless of what the people did here.
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for good or worse in the area of working together not. let's hear from some other folks. any other topics that are significant? >> i am from the newspaper guild, one of the two labor journalist here in the audience today. it struck me and it struck me for many years that there is one thing that the movement really lacks. we are spread all over the lot. we get involved in every single cause no demand and we don't have a unifying theme. and much as i hate to "makem, rich trumka on pbs the other night actually articulated one. he said, you shouldn't have to choose between your life and your job. now, turn that around and make a positive. we are working for our rights. you treat that and first of all
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do you agree and second he treated in the book? >> yeah, in the book i try to provide some examples of how we need to frame our shoes and protect their fights to avoid being so easily targeted as this shrinking island of relative group which. when we had our big ip w. telephone strike at nymex in 1989, 60,000 members of the two unions out for four months. even back then the fact that there was no premium contribution by the workers of are there union which is what management wanted as a concession in 1989 and get today we knew how that would look to the other workers who are paying through the nose out of their paychecks every week for child-based medical coverage plus much larger drag -- deductibles and co-payments. we frame that fight is a fight for health care for all not health cuts at nymex and they
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built alliances, physicians for national health programs with jesse jackson and anybody else who is out there fighting for national health insurance and we use the strike for education around the issue of national health insurance because we knew there was going to be little sympathy for workers having in their personal home health healh health care garage what was demonized despicably last year by harry reid and president obama as a cadillac. you remember the debate about the cadillac benefits, that needed to be taxed the contribution they make, they millions of, hundreds of millions of dollars, billions of dollars in subsidized private health insurance coverage for the under in uninsured which is the core of this misbegotten -- we knew then that what he had three years of struggle was not
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a cadillac. is a chevy. everybody should have it, but if we don't universalize our demands, pensions, paid time off which should be by statute, not by private negotiation, if we don't find a wave to sleep -- sweep of social security increasingly there is going to be this pitting of the private sector against the public-sector and different sectors of the public in the private sector can teach other. is not a new phenomenon. arizona talk radio show during the petco strike in 1981 in boston, and got a call from an auto worker in framingham, the gm plant there which is no more, and he was outraged because those petco people who stare at a discrete sound they wanted a
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four-day workweek and what they wanted a wage increase and early retirement. this guy was ranting and raving and don't they know what it's like, how difficult it is to be a not a worker? we don't have that and blah, blah, blah. thank you very much brother. brother. the hajj is kind of chuckling. uaw out against the strike. this is one dumb auto builder because when you -- you are going to be next and he was next because his brothers and sisters were next throughout the auto industry. we constantly have to minimize this tendency of people a rung or two down on the economic ladder rather than cheering those who are trying to hold onto their spot a little bit higher up are kind of rooting for them to slide down as well which and if it's no one as we know. >> steve i wanted to broaden out a little bit and god knows we
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have several wars and our labor movement here but can we talk a little bit about international labor movement and the fabulous you work you do with folks in colombia? the let's talk about international women's day because i don't want to the fact that 10,000 women, call center workers with t-mobile and twa and their counterpart in germany trying to use international women's day as a basis for solidarity a man at winning some kind of organizing rich agreement at what is now 100% wireless company t-mobile. the parent company is deutsche telecom heavily unionized. this is an example of cross-border not exact lee borgen -- exactly bargain to organize by the stronger partner abroad to put pressure on the parent company to stop the kind of harassment of violation of workers rights that it made it
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hard to keep local workers to organize in retail stores. the other program that kerry is referring to is one called union to union which some regions of the twa have pursued for 10 or 12 years now in my district 1 in the northeast. we developed in 2000 two a partnership with the colombian public-sector unit called center of fun and through voluntary contributions from 60 to 70 locals every year since then i've raced into $12,000 which we transmit to the solitary center. we have had a whole series of exchanges between colombian trade union groups and activists up here going to colombia. very compress in the beginning confronted the previous president of colombia uribe in a meeting in the afl delegation a year or two ago around the continuing violation of workers rights in colombia and again i think the lesson of that model program is it is bottom-up,
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worker to worker. is rank-and-file. are not relying on national endowment money to finance this partnership so i will say the solidarity center has been very helpful throughout the 10 years that we -- and kerry was one of the staffers of help that help get it off the ground. >> a 10-cent per member per year. that is really bottom-up. >> not a lot of money but it is not a mandatory system. of the local has to care enough about this program and has to have had members that met trade unions who would be put onto her. they had to have done some joint work by free trade agreement fighting the dreadful plan colombia which like our wars in iraq and afghanistan drained billions of dollars, tax dollars out of this country that could go much more profitably to filling some of these real and imagined budget deficits we hear so much about in wisconsin, ohioan indiana and so on down the line.
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which reminds me we have brother mark goodson here who is along with bob mellencamp and others and gene gene brusca and a leader of u.s. labor against the war. perhaps we could hand out the great new u.s. labor against the word fire brother bob. i want to highly recommend the chart on the back of this flyer. we need to reframe the debate about what we need to do to protect public jobs and services. right now, the labor proposal seems to be well tax the rich, tax reform, very much needed. we don't have a strong enough push for single-payer which would achieve enormous savings and take the pressure off the bargaining that we have to do in both the private and public sector by job base benefits now but as that flyer points out do you really want to deal with this problem of the fiscal crisis in the public-sector?
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you have to recapture the kind of money that has been squandered on these two wars in direct spending close to a trillion dollars over the last eight to nine years. and i think it is sad that those of us in our generation of cohorts and i include myself in this group, who came out of the antiwar movement of the 60s and the presidents of cwa and eight seiu and united here and are in prominent positions in other unions and certainly brother trumka have not taken the kind of continuing strong stand on the need to cut the pentagon budget and pre-order national craters and shift tax spending in the kind of correction that would save jobs, improve public services and make life better for people in this country. they need to do that and i think there is properly or sentiment in favor of doing this. is a mystery to me with their freda. i did a piece a couple weeks ago a lot of people like the veteran
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labour movement needing another wimpy, guy who representative military work greatly advocated economic conversion campaign for nuclear disarmament and continually argued with his own members about the need to end our dependence on the production of armaments. brother bob. [inaudible] i see larry hanley back here. larry is the new president of aclu. at the risk of embarrassing him. [applause] he started a program inside the atu to discuss the military budget and that you can't solve mass transit problems and have all this military stuff. it takes a lot of guts, but to do it members respond to a. >> i want to raise something different though than what you asked me about.
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i was in madison, and one of the ways -- obviously it is a teachable moment. it is a learnable moment, right? i asked myself this question and other trade unionists answer the question and friends of mine who are not the labor movement and don't know anything about the labor movement asked me this question. so how did you get into this situation? how did we get so week? it happened on our watch. i mean, how did we get here? and i think we have some good answers to that, mostly globalization as practice, productivity and technology productivity and the destruction of the labor movement but there is another one that -- i was on some radio talk shows and meetings and stuff in wisconsin, and it seems to me that we also have two not just talk about
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what is happening but treat them as symptoms. and what is the cause of the symptom? if you are in ours, you try to figure out what actually is going on, right? and one of the things i think we have not done well in the labor movement is try to figure that out and look, if we don't talk about what is really behind all this i don't think we can correct it and move in a different direction so look everyone in this room knows all these terms, the neoliberal, neoconservative, washington consensus, corporate agenda whatever you want to call it. if we don't talk about that as a set of ideas that has really
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resulted in this mess we are in, not just in the trade union movement that for all of us, all americans, think we miss it. i just come in simple terms i was on these talk shows and i would say okay, so what is really going on here? let me tell a story and then let's think about what is going on in wisconsin. the free market solves all problems. therefore anything that gets in a way of the free market is bad. right? therefore, we have to have -- government get in the way so we have to cut taxes. we have to eliminate government. we have to therefore deregulate and if there's anything left that is any good we have to privatize it and there is
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something else that gets in the way called unions, so we have to eliminate them. that is it, isn't it? it is a sad, it is the whole thing is it's together. so then you say hello, what is happening in wisconsin? you know it is not just the elimination of the unions. they are privatizing step. they are privatizing the utilities around the country etc., so it is like i feel like, steve first of all i want to thank you for the book, which i have read and actually i won't ask you to give it to me free. i will buy it and thank you. >> you better move quick. they may not have enough. >> second edition. but for -- for provoking this conversation but i think, think we have to get eons just
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describing are talking about what is going on but really try and understand and explain what is really behind all this and to let the institutional labor movement really does not talk in these terms. and i don't see how we solve any of this unless we pull it all together and step back and say whoa, there is really something big here and it all fits together and explains it all and we had better explain to people walking around the capital in madison that this is what it is about and everywhere else, or we can't rebuild the voice of working people. >> i think that is a really -- no, no, i think you are right on target and we are obviously all enthusiastic about what we hope could have developed in the summer of 2009 in the right wing populism of the tea party seem to be in ascendancy and
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everybody was saying when is our site going to rally and mobilize and with a little bit of that delay in the one nation marched but not to this degree of spontaneity and mass participation. i would agree that has to be bolstered longer-term by the kind of education that makes the most of the teachable moment, and going to be headed down soon on this book peddling tour to hang out with the united association of labor educators, brother dennis is here in and the leadership of the droop and i know labor educators also are frustrated by the fact that with this shrinking constituency and continuing asher to focus on the nuts and bolts of day-to-day union work and contract administration, the kind of big picture popular economics training that bill fletcher tried to introduce when he was the education director briefly and the afl-cio and sweeney. there seems to be less and less
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time for but if we don't get back to more traditional forms and more fundamental forms of labor education, political education about the system, people may continue to be confused as you to say about the root cause of what the onslaught they are facing every day on the job and in bargaining. it is not like labor education. it is so much a part of what is governing this country now, and by the way in popular education we start out some of this and we say has anyone in for -- here ever been in a bar? right, so there is a thing called a barstool, right? and some of them have three legs, right? bargaining, politics and organizing but some of them have four legs and it is called the war of ideas.
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we have not engaged in that. we have not explained what is really going on and i am just -- this discussion is wonderful. i just step back and explain. we have to do this work also. to see the bigger picture of what is really going on in this country. >> i would agree. let me just applaud for brother larry hanley. people don't know the great work he did the leader of the bus drivers from staten island, wonderful case study in building connections between labor and the community and workers and people they served in the big apple and bury along with the election of brother john samuelson and local 100 new york hopefully are going to change the face of transportation unions. ..
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>> it puts more pressure on the democrats from the left, and certainly we have to realize the limits of the kind of muddled bipartisanship we've seen some unions pursue and they've decided and sciu was the worst
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example of this is by teaching the democrats a lessons and shovel more money in the direction of the republicans. it was a disgrace in 2004 and tbief sciu gave the republican governors association over half a million dollars, help elect the current governor of indiana who attacks worker rights in the public sector and now the private sector become a model for what the more recently gop elected governors have been trying to get away with in ohio and in wisconsin. as recently as the most recent election cycle. they gave another $# 00,000 -- $200,000. i don't know what any of you would expect to get by placing those kinds of bets. this week's issue of the nation has an article about the very active and strong and hopefully
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sing m -- single payer union in voars showing the critical role bid by the vermont association and the political action enforcing democrats to do what they haven't done before in that state or anywhere else and certainly not under howard deen, the new governor is going what he's doing on the single payer front going behind obamacare at the state level to the extent that's possible as fast as possible, and it's pretty slow because the strong democratic majority in both houses of the legislature and he, himself, has to deal with a viable political formation from the left. the progressive party in vermont has members from the house, now elected a state senator, an independent socialist u.s. senator, bernie sanders.
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unless you have a formation like that that is campaigning for single payer in vermont in the case of bernie since the mid-1970s, this is not a new idea democrats just came up with in this session of the legislature. their tendency will be to drift to the center and further right you have the mishmash coming from congress last year when we could have got something more and better to put us on the road to a more inclusive, cost ineffective less wasteful insurance system. keep your eye on vermont. the idea is if we build alternatives, we can make the people more accountable. final thoughts? yes, over here. >> time for one more question. if i can ask you, steve, to take one more question, and before we break up tonight, folks, i would like to announce that busboys and poets started a new labor series. we would like to thank you so
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much -- we'd like to draw more people into this american labor movement. this has felt like a kind of internal discussion in many ways. we want to draw some new folks in, and we're doing that discussion the first week of each month. look on our website,, and you can see more information on that new series. >> hopefully on april 4, this can be a venue where great connections can be made between the sacrifice of reverend martin luther king and the struggles today, april 4 now declared to be the day of action of all kinds. hopefully there's an event here as well. yes? >> i'm thomas, one of the founders of the u.s. uncut movement. you may have read about us somewhere around. we are -- >> oh, yeah. [applause] >> direct action. >> we were inspired by the
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protest in wisconsin and in the dc area, three bank of america banks have been shut down because of direct action. i haven't read your book yet. you spoke about civil wars, and what's the role of our enemies in creating those civil wars and exacerbating those civil wars? >> very good question. no, i think clearly, the greatest obstacle union space to grow to revival are the external forces of the power of the corporate class, the campaign of information that's been waged against unions in the private sector that's now spreading in the public spedding, the aiding and abetting this by some of our purported friends in the democratic party. you know, it's a very complicated dance, and i think we've seen it play out in very disstressing ways in
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california. this was a company that was long loaded as a model for labor management partnering, respect for workers' rights. they gave it the eleanor roosevelt's human rights award several years ago. if you look at the unfair business practices over the last few years, it's ab domeble. the partnership behaved like a company union in the last two or year there, sciu included massive violation of the rights of workers 2300 of them who voted to change unions from nciu last year. the nrb slow moving and dysfunctional as always issued a major practice complaint, filed for a 10j injunction that they just settled paying workers $2 million at the company in
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southern california, money owed to them under the terms of their own contract which the company refused to keep in effect while the new bargaining, the expression of free choice, nhw was renegotiating the contract terms. when an employer like this awarded and touted and praised for good behavior misbehaves, we need to find ways to hold it accountable. there are 24 or 25 other yiewn yons in the partnership -- unions in the partnership most smaller than nciu. there's others outside of it in addition to nhw including the california nurses and nu, but even the partnership unions can go bad, and we've seen some examples of that with xerox recently that operates call centers and aggressive in union busting so i don't think we can rest on our laurels if you think the relationships that have been built based on partnership
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principles are worth pursuing. everybody ought to be calling employers like this company out around this well-documented pattern of unfair labor practice activity which started in california in 2005 when they busted a call center worker's campaign, a nonpartnership union because the employer only wanted to deal with partnership unions, and the partnership unions didn't stick up for the call center workers employee free choice, their exercise of their right to form and join a union of their choosing. we saw a di cert, a failure to get a first contract, and, in fact, the beginnings of the misbehavior that has become really pronounced over the last 12 months to 18 months in california, so i want to thank everybody for coming. if you can't get a book tonight, go to,
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a hay market related website, and thank you again, pamela, for hosting. >> absolutely. we'll bring a table up front. thank you, steve. [applause] we'll bring a table up front so steve can sign books here. give us a minute to get that set up, i'm sure he wouldn't mind doing some signing for us here tonight. >> this event was hosted by busboys and poets in washington, d.c.. for more information, visit >> yes, it's been an interesting and fun life, and i don't owe it to the feminists, i'll tell you that. [laughter] feminism has become a very hot topic. i suppose the reason for that is sarah palin, a feminist can want resist attacking sarah palin. it's not just because she's a republican and a conservative. it's because she's a successful
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woman. she has a cool husband, a lot of kids, a great career, making lots of money. she is by any standard a success, and they can't stand it, and acid in their wounds is that she's pretty too. [laughter] so the feminists don't believe that women can be successful in the united states. they think women are oppressed by the pay try yarky and held down by mean men and need the government to rescue them and give them more advantages, and that's a very unfortunate thing. you never hear them talk about really successful women, margaret thatcher, what about all the wonderful women elected last november 2, 2010? well, it turned out they were all republicans, in fact, all pro-life, and that's not what the feminists planned at all. they simply do not recognize success. i think one of the reasons i was
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able to beat the equal rights amendment because they did not believe i was doing what i did. they conjured up conspiracies like the insurance companies were financing me or some other nonsense like that. now, this ideology of telling young women that you are victims of an o prosessive society is unfortunate. if you wake up in the morning and believe that, you're not going to accomplish anything whether you're a man or a woman, and many of the world of the feminists, in fact, most of them, think abortion is the litmus test for being a feminist, but what are the new feminists, jessica wrote in the "washington post" a few weeks ago that definition of feminism is that we are under an oppressive system, and they have to work to overturn it and stop it. that's what feminism is.
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it is also not true that they are working for equality. the feminists are for empowerment by the female left. you find that they are not empowering all women. they want to make an alliance with the left wing and so it's the female left that has become so powerful when it aligned itself with the obama administration. now, when the feminist movement got underway really in the late 60s and early 70s, they called themselves not feminism. they called themself the the women's liberation movement. you have to ask what did they want to be liberated from. they. ed to be liberated from home, husband, family, and children, and so you find that they were encouraging women to be independent of men. that's why they were big supporters of divorce and they
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looked upon marriage as a very confining role in life. gloria staid -- said when a woman gets married she becomes a femmy nonperson. the life of a wife and mother was living in a comfortable concentration camp. that was their attitude. the social degradation of women was really a major goal of the feminist movement, and it wasn't -- they were really not using the argument that it takes two incomes to support the family. that really wasn't why they wanted to get out of the home. they wanted to get her out the home not for economic reasons, but for social and cultural reasons because they tried to tell women that you just, you're just a parasite, your life is not accomplishing anything. the only way to have fulfillment is to be independent of men and have your own career.
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>> you can watch this and other programs online at up next on booktv, a history about 60,000 americans loyal to the british empire after the revolutionary war. fearing retribution, they fled to other locals under british control. this is about 50 minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> hi, everyone. i'm al exon behalf -- alex on behalf of the bookstore. before we get started, i want to take a moment and mention our upcoming author talks, upcoming events include james carroll on march 11 discussing "jerusalem,
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jerusalem, how the ancient citiesignited the world." also how the boston tea party sparked a revolution. ticketed events are there as well. find the complete calendar events online. we'll have time for questions after which we'll have a book signing here at the table, and you can find copies of the book up at the registers. please know when you buy a book from harvard bookstore, you're supporting a local independent institution who cares about books and this author series is not possible without that support. we're also pleased to have c-span's booktv here taping today's event. when asking questions, please know you're recorded, and please wait for a moment for the
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microphone to come over to you before asking your question. finally, now is a great time to make sure you silenced your cell phones. this afternoon, on behalf of harvard bookstore, i'm pleased to introduce mya here to discuss liberty exhyls, she is an award winning historian bringing us a largely untold story, the story of 60,000 men and women who remained loyal to the british empire at the conclusion of the revolution. they left their home and became refugees elsewhere and left the american world. historian joseph jay ellis says losers seldom write history, but these loyalists got their historian.
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she tells the story with uncommon style and grace. she's an associate professor of history at harvard university. her first book, "edge of empire" was awarded the 2005 cooper prize and was a book of the year selection in the economist, the guardian, and the sunday time. we're pleasessed to bring here -- pleased to bring her here this afternoon. please help me welcome her. [applause] >> well, thank you all for coming, and let me thank harvard bookstore for hosting me. i've been coming here since my undergraduate day a long time ago, and i feel as my reading tastes matured, this bookstore has been here to fulfill them. let me begin at the beginning with this book. there were two sides on the american revolution, but only one was on display early in the afternoon of november 25, 1783 when general george washington
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road on a -- radio on a gray horse into the city. henry knox followed close behind. long lines of civilians trailed after them, some on horses, others on footwearing black and white and sprigs of laurel in their hats. hundreds crammed in the streets to watch. through seven long years of war and negotiations, new york had been occupied by the british army. today, the british were going. a cannon shot at 1 p.m. finding the departure of the last british troops from their posts, clam moried into boats, and went to the harbor the the british occupation of the united states was officially over. george washington's entrance into new york city was the closest thing the winners the american revolution had to a parade, and for a week, they
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celebrated the evacuation with feasts and fires and illuminations and fireworks. generations of new yorkers made this the november celebration of national togetherness, thanksgiving day. what if you department want to british to leave? mixed in the crowd, there were other less cheerful faces, the loyalist, colonists siding with britain in the war. the departure of the british troops spelled worry, not jubilation. during the war, tens of thousands of loyalists moved for safety into new york and other british held cities. the british withdrawal now raised urgent questions about their future. what kind of treatment could they expect in the new united states? would they be jailed? would they be attacked? would they retain their property or hold their jobs?
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confronting real doubts about their lives, liberty, and potential happiness in the united states, 60,000 loyalists decided to take their chances and follow the british elsewhere into the british empire. they took 15,000 black slaves with them bringing the total exodus to 75,000 people, or 1 in 40 members of the american population traveling to canada, britain, journeyed to the baa bahamas and some further to africa and india. wherever they went, this voyage of exile was a trip into the unknown. in america, they left behind friends and relatives, careers and land, houses and native streets, the entire place they built their lives. for them, america was a less asile line up of the prosecuted. it was the british empire their
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asylum offering land to help them start overment this did not mark an end, but a fresh beginning and carried them into a dynamic uncertain new world. now, i just read you the first couple pages of this book, and in this book what i tried to do is lay out and explain what happened to the loyalists next because usually our stories end, the conflicts in 1783, but as i for this population, the repercussions we want on in new places. i tried to instill the experiences of the 60,000 refugees into an overview of what all of this means, and this afternoon i'll be more gross lee reductionist in my remarks because after sort of sketching the big picture for you, i'll focus on the experience of just one of the 60,000 people. let me explain a little bit about the big picture. you know, stereotypes still
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often suggests that loyalists were shared kind of an elite profile, they were white, wealth, members of the colonial population, but in truth, it ranged right across the spectrum, social, geographic, ethnic, an religious spectrum of early america. notably, not all loyalists were even white. about 20,000 black slaves during the revolution responded to promises extended to british governors to offer them freedom if they agreed to come and join the red coats, so, again, about 20,000 patriot owned slaves joined the british making it the largest emancipation in american history until the era of the civil war. by the same token, many american indian nations were drawn into this conflict and divided by it, and for them, they had often been harassed for generations by
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land hungry colonists, some had been allied with britain over the course of previous wars against france and so on, and so many native americans joined the war on the british side. loyalism is cutting right across the population of early america. the stereotypes are worth creeking. loyalists are referred to as tory, the nickname of the party and they were conservative, couldn't see the future, the innovation was to become republican. now, in fact, many prominent loyalists were actually reformers in their own way, and they advanced schemes for imperial reform that are worth paying attention to and anticipates much, much later developments elsewhere in the british empire, and so for most
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of the people who were caught on the front lines of this conflict, which they called a civil war, not a revolution. this wasn't so much a war of ideals as it was often a war of or deals, a war in which violence came to their front door as they had windows smashed, livestock poisenned, property seized by the state, and violence, the violence of the war at least as much as ideology ends up being very important in impelling tens of thousands of loyalists to take shelter in british held cities during the war, and then to decide to leave the colonies at the end of it. what happened to them next and where did they go? well, fewer than 15% of these refugees went back to britain, and it wasn't back for most of them because for all that american colonists were raised to think of britain as home, very few of them had been there,
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and so when think went through, they were in an alien place that was very different from the surroundings they knew here in the colonies. the vast majority of the loyalists, more than half of them, relocated to canada, particularly nova scotia receiving 30,000 refugees doubling the population overnight leading to the creation of a new province, new brunswick, to accommodate the new arrivals. a transformative impact in canada, and another 10,000 of the loyalists moved south, particularly those who lived in georgia, south carolina, north carolina, and they traveled to jamaica and the bahamas and brought with them the vast majority of those exported slaves, the 15,000 slaves who traveled along with the whites and black loyalists. some of the loyalists should be noted even ranged further.
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the most surprising aspect of this migration happened in 1791 when 1200 of the black loyalists, the freed slaves, moved from their initial place of refuge in canada across the ocean to west after africa under the sponsorship of british abolitionists who wanted to found a black free colony on the coast of west africa, and the black loyalists were the settlers of what became free town in see leanon. they were more fortunate, and others end up in india including, in fact, two sons p one of the most infamous loyalist as all, the turncoat, benedict arnold. he has a half indian grandchild, and i think there's or nailed
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lineage on the other side of the world. within the end of the revolution, the map of the diaspora, and there's a map of it a few pages into the book, the map looks a lot like the british empire as a whole, and this points to the key features that i wanted to signal about the significance of looking after this diaspora because it really helps make sense of a seeming paradox. the american revolution was the greatest single defeat for the british empire until the era of world war ii, the greatest lost of territory, blunged the em -- plunged the em bier into -- empire into enormous debt, and saw their defeat of the closest colonists, people who they saw as brethren break away, and, yes, within a decade or so, britain had bounced back to a striking extent, and it was to be the british empire that was
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the leading world power for the entirety of the 19th century. how do we explain the paradox of britain coming out of a devastating defeat and going on to rule the world? well, we usually think about the international significance of the american revolution in terms of the spirit of 1776; right? the values, you know, that helped mobilize other people around the world to express their own desire for liberty, but, in fact, i con tepid, it's -- contend, it's by looking at the revolution's impact on the british empire we can see a consequence of this war, and in the wake of the american revolution, we see the british empire becoming a great loser. they regroup, they consolidate, and they retool in three key ways which i think we could absolutely label the spiritf


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